Today I will be sharing with you some of my secrets to getting more done in less time. There are a handful of simple practices that you can put to practice in your daily life that will make a huge difference in your levels of productivity and effectiveness.
Before we jump into some tips and strategies about how to do more in less time, I have to brag a little bit… As I am writing this post, I am sitting in a coffee shop in the beautiful city of Barcelona, Spain. If you have not traveled here yet, it is a place that you absolutely must visit! Barcelona is a beautiful city with amazing things to do and sights to see.
Ok, enough about that, back to some secrets about how to get more done in less time!
Productivity and performance are topics that have always fascinated me because for the longest time I was curious as to how the Warren Buffett’s and Donald Trump’s of the world achieved massive success while other people struggle to pay bills.
We all have 24 hours in a day; so, it’s not like Donald Trump has the ability to buy extra time to make a 26-hour work day. He simply knows how to do more in less time.
Yes, there are many factors that differentiate people who are successful from people who struggle, but today we will be talking about productivity and how to maximize the 24 hours you have every day so you can work to become like The Donald and Mr. Buffett.
I recently was reminded of a concept that really resonated with me. I heard it first via Facebook and then again just a couple weeks ago at a personal development seminar in Los Angeles. This concept revolves around the feeling of not having enough time in the day to get everything done. Have you ever felt that way?? Yeah me too.
The concept had to do with prioritizing your day in a way that allows you to complete everything that’s on your plate. This concept was explained with a live demonstration using a two large jars, rocks, pebbles, and sand.
Rocks, Pebbles, Sand, & Jars.
The first part of the demonstration started with how most people operate their life.
Most people start with the small menial and routine tasks (the sand) that they need to get done like grocery shopping, cleaning, laundry, errands etc. Then they move to more important things (the pebbles), things you cannot function without, like their job, eating, sleeping, etc. Lastly, they try to squeeze in the things that really matter to them (the rocks). Things like time with their kids, family, friends, travel, writing, pursuing various personal passions, etc.
If you organize your life like this, you more than likely feel unhappy, over-worked, stressed out, and wanting more out of life because your jar is almost completely filled up with sand and pebbles by the time you get to your rocks. You end up only being able to squeeze 2 or 3 rocks in your jar when you have 8-10 of them to put in there!
The second part of the demonstration started with the rocks, the things that really matter to you. Then the pebbles, the things that are important for your life to function, and, lastly, the sand, the small menial tasks.
When you organize your life in this way, all of your rocks fit and the sand and pebbles fill in the empty space between your rocks. This is the way to make everything fit. Starting with the things that are most important to you and filling in the cracks of empty space with the small things.
To make this concept more actionable I have outlined three action items for you that will help you get started on making this concept a daily practice.
Create time for the things that really matter to you.
Start with the most important things to you personally because you won’t be as effective or focused without having those things in your schedule. Create some white space for your personal time and family time.
Even if it’s 15-20 minutes every morning to make a cup of coffee, read 10 pages in your book and meditate, make sure that you take that time for yourself because even though you may think that you don’t have an extra 15-20 minutes, you will be far more effective the rest of your day. Maybe you don’t need something every day, so you do yoga or go to the gym three times per week for 90 minutes. (These are just an examples, do whatever works for you.)
Prioritize, chunk time, and play to your strenghts
After you block time for you, prioritize your work schedule. (If you have a job you may have to do this first and place your boulders around your work schedule.) For us entrepreneurs, it’s important that we block appointment times together in order to be more efficient with our day. Nothing is worse than having meetings at 9am, 12 noon, and 3pm. Your entire day is spent in meetings and at the end of the day you feel like you didn’t get anything done… because you didn’t! Instead, group your meetings back-to-back whenever possible so that you are done with all of your meetings by 1pm at the latest and have the entire afternoon to work and focus.
The best way to do this is to have set days of the week where you meet with clients. For me, I usually only meet with clients on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday afternoons between 1pm and 6pm Pacific. For my clients on the East coast I will go as early as 10am PT (1pm ET) since those meetings are usually via phone or Skype and I don’t have to leave my home.
The key here is to set meeting times with clients that work for you! If you’re not a morning person (like me), then DON’T ever set an 8am meeting for crying out loud! You will always be late and you will never bring your “A” game! If you’re the type of person who’s more productive at night, schedule all of your meetings in the afternoon! Play to your strengths!
Remember, you created your business so you could create your own schedule and to escape the 9-5 rat race… so don’t just recreate a 9-5 for yourself!
The takeaway here is to block your time so that you can be more productive with that time and the extra time that “chunking” or “blocking” creates.
Make time for personal projects & hobbies
After you block time for work or for your clients, block time for your personal projects like a side business, a hobby, or for planning your future business. Even if you only have 2 hours on Tuesday nights and 2 hours on Saturday mornings, those 4 hours will be highly productive because you will be able to focus solely on your personal project.
It’s important to treat this time as if it were a meeting with the president! You would never reschedule, miss, or be late to a meeting with the president, so don’t ever compromise the time that you have set aside for your personal project. You will more than likely think of a million things that you “NEED” to do during this time, but those things can all wait. Protect this time that you’ve set aside for yourself. It’s easier said than done!
For the last 15 minutes of each time block, create an action plan for the next time block. This will make it so that every time you sit down to work on your project you don’t have to think about what to do, you already know what you need to do.
I hope that this information on how to do more in less time has added value to your life. Please take the information from this blog post and implement it in your life. These simple strategies will help
Taking it one step further
One big component to being more productive is to have an action plan for your month, week, and day; especially if you are an entrepreneur. If you don’t have an action plan, you waste time getting ready to get ready to get going on a daily or weekly basis. This is extremely detrimental to creating momentum in your business.
The most important factor to creating an action plan is making sure that your action are in alignment with your big picture objectives for your business.
For more information on what you need to do create an action plan that’s in alignment with your goals, check out my blog post on creating a strategic marketing plan: Introduction to the Strategic Marketing Compass
Leave me a comment below! I’d love to hear from you!
Thanks for reading my blog post! I love interacting with my readers, so please leave a comment below so we can get to know each other!
Also, if you would like to get updates from me, with free video training and marketing & mindset tips, make sure that you subscribe by clicking on the link below and entering your name and e-mail address.